Ted Snowdon

presents

THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE

By JONATHAN TOLINS

 

Century Center for the Performing Arts, 111 E. 15 St., NYC

Opening Night: April 9, 2003

 

Directed by TRIP CULLMAN

Set Design TAKESHI KATA

Costume Design ALEJO VIETTI

Lighting Design PAUL WHITAKER

Sound Design JEFFREY YOSHI LEE

Production Stage Manager LORI ANN ZEPP

Press Representative OPR/ORIGLIO PUBLIC RELATIONS

 

Starring

ARNIE BURTON – DONALD CORREN – JOHNATHAN F. McCLAIN

SUSAN POURFAR – MARK SETLOCK – PETER SMITH

DAVID TURNER – MATTHEW WILKAS

After the successful, extended run at Rattlestick, Jonathan Tolins’ acclaimed ensemble comedy, THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE has moved slightly uptown for an open, off-Broadway run at the Century Center. An ironic examination of what it means to be gay in a contemporary context, viewed through the lens of what it means to be in a gay play, and set during the annual Pride march in New York City, this witty piece is a many-faceted take on the subject.

Following the release of Mr. Tolins’ play, THE TWILIGHT OF THE GOLDS, there was controversy over his comments that it was not a gay play, even though the thematic content included a couple who consider aborting their child when pre-natal testing indicates that the child will probably be born gay. Of course, this play, as the author correctly pointed out, was about more than homosexuality, and he found himself grappling with the definition of "gay" play. This real life experience works its way into THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE as the source of much comedic debate.

The characters, driven by the youthful enthusiasm of the recently out Joe (David Turner) begin to imagine that they are the characters in a gay play, and go on to delineate the required plot points, et cetera. Way to stick it to your detractors, Mr. Tolins! There is no better revenge than living well, or publicly deriding your critics in a marketable and successful way. This aspect aside, the script does raise issues of stereotypes, social structure, political changes and cultural mores. The fact that we meet a group of men who unabashedly flirt with a young, buff, shirtless visitor, is really, when you get down to it, not too different than the more "mainstream" presentation of a bunch of endlessly adolescent guys leering at scantily clad women.

What is also notable about this production of THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE is the complete package presented. The themes presented are essentially universal. There are protestations of the impossibility of male fidelity, and the all too common defense that a purely sexual indiscretion does not really mean anything. There are discussions about the rules, and how they vary depending on looks, age and physical structure. Most of all, there is an overwhelming desire to find the kind of self-acceptance that allows one to fit in, find pleasure, and be happy too.

All of the design elements are on point, the actors fit neatly into their roles, and the pacing is just right. An ensemble piece in the best sense of the term, this is a bitingly self-aware play that illuminates universal struggles, pounds in plenty of laughs, and does not even attempt to answer those many unanswerable questions, THE LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE is a smooth, giddy ride.

- Kessa De Santis -

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